ROUTES & BRANCHES
a home for the americana diaspora
December 31, 2016
Scott Foley, purveyor o' dust
Towards the finish of every recent year, I have assembled a mighty and humbling list of "stuff that Scott whiffed on" over the past 12 months. This is a handful of releases that I should have represented on my blog and my playlists, but which for whatever reason I either shared too sparingly or simply never got around to. Consider this a formal mea culpa to the artists, as well as a heads-up to readers to check this stuff out.
~ Darrin Bradbury, Elmwood Park: A Slightly Melodic Audiobook (Bradbury, Sept) This East Nashville songwriter actually earned some good words on Rolling Stone's own site, though I apparently never got around to doing so myself. Bradbury can be a brilliant writer, though he tends to masquerade that gift behind irreverent humor a'la Todd Snider or Bobby Bare Jr or John Prine. Check out the brilliant "Life Is Hard" below,or the sweet sweet "True Love" on bandcamp: How I wish I could get back to when love was just a toke of something green like your eyes / Honey gold like your hair / And we could always laugh, even when there was no joke / We'd lie lazy 'round like cats / We're not going anywhere ...
~ Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Commandments According To SCAC (SCAC, Sept) Arliss Nancy aside, the Square State music scene was a virtual wasteland in 2016. Or maybe I just wasn't paying attention. One thing we can all agree upon is that I should've shared more from this genuinely unique band's new collection. SCAC have long abandoned "normal", and with impatiently evolving time signatures and enigmatic lyrical content (I think there's a lot about moths here), you won't be singing along with "Commandment 1", "Commandment 8" or even "Commandment 4" anytime soon. Nor will they be on your wedding mixtape. Its electric guitars, graveyard percussion and anti-chorus backing vox can be dark dark dark. Like the devil's interpretation of B52s ... But consider this an antidote to ... say, Jim Lauderdale or some other artist who is so deep in their pocket as to be in a musical rut. Which is precisely why we're grateful for a record like Commandments, providing the turbulence to shake up our kind of music just enough to keep it alive.
In all honesty, every year there are many more than the 5 whiffs on which I focus here. Many more. But it's always the case that in choosing to shine a light fairly on one release we risk neglecting a dozen other worthy projects. Next week, be ready for new stuff from Scott H Biram, the Sadies (w/Kurt Vile), Old 97s and mucho mas. Here's hoping you a meaningful and rewarding New Year, one that's rich with musical discovery. For my part, I resolve to continue chasing the muse into the bramble and tangle of the music industry hinterlands. That, and to grow out my bangs ...
Here's one of these festive poppers: